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Emergent knowledge dynamics in innovation: exploring e-business entrepreneurship after the dotcom crash

Steinberg, Alexandra (2005) Emergent knowledge dynamics in innovation: exploring e-business entrepreneurship after the dotcom crash. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis explores emergent knowledge dynamics in innovation in the context of ebusiness entrepreneurship. Based on a critique of the dialectic interpretation of knowledge dynamics, it forwards a perspective that stresses the creative force of emergence that disrupts existent meanings and produces new potentialities for innovation. It suggests ways of using such a perspective in policy-targeted research. The first part elaborates on the traditional uses of concepts of knowledge in explanations of entrepreneurial innovation and on the need to account for a dynamic perspective on emergent knowledge. The thesis employs work by Deleuze and Guattari as meta-theoretical vehicle to expand the conceptual potential of social representations theory beyond its traditional focus on a dialectic ontology of becoming. It highlights a dynamic which does not exclusively assume conceptual difference as the source of the novel and which allows for patterns of becoming other than the triadic continuity of dialectics. Together, this provides new possibilities for an understanding of knowledge dynamics taking into account both adaptive and creative dynamics of emergence. The empirical part combines thematic analysis of interviews and a focus group with Deleuzian analysis of participant observation to facilitate an exploration of emergent conditions for innovation in a particular milieu of e-business entrepreneurship. The exploration shows how changes in shared evaluative dimensions guided – and constrained – the creation of new concepts. Simultaneously, distinct assemblages arising from novel connections of affect and technology in networks created the conditions of fluidity and ambiguity required for new knowledge: in the aftermath of the dotcom crash, new concepts of network leadership and trust in business interaction were emerging. This study forwards new insights on the study of emergent knowledge dynamics as oscillating between rhizomic opening and dialectic closure. It is in the disruptive encounters between the two that new conditions for innovation can assemble.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2005 Alexandra Steinberg
Library of Congress subject classification: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Sets: Departments > Psychological and Behavioural Science
Supervisor: Humphreys, Patrick and Humphreys, Patrick

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